Date: Tue 14 Apr 2020

Family Court Hearings during lockdown – Guidance

The Senior Judiciary have issued a very helpful guidance for how and when court hearings should take place remotely.

In summary:

  1. Whilst some hearings can take place remotely, they should only do so when it is in the interests of justice. The process must be fair.
  2. Remote hearings should be preferably by video.
  3. A remote hearing can be heard where:.
    • there is no oral evidence.
    • Where parents oppose the care plan but only witnesses to give oral evidence are Social Worker and Children’s Guardian and the factual issues are limited.
    • Where only medical witnesses are to give oral evidence.
  4. A remote hearing will not be heard where:.
    • One party objects to a remote hearing, it is unlikely the court will hold a remote hearing.
    • Where parents and other lay witnesses are to give oral evidence a remote hearing is unlikely to take place.
  5. Parties should be told at the outset that this is a court hearing and they must behave accordingly.

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